Saxophone Fingering Chart for beginners

In this guide you will learn how to use the Saxophone fingering Chart, so that you can play the notes you want on your saxophone. A perfect starting point for every saxophone beginner as the fingering chart covers all notes within the normal register on your saxophone.

Note from the saxophone teacher: These sax fingerings are the same on all saxophones. So it doesn't matter if you play alto saxophone, soprano-, tenor- or Bari sax. The fingering chart applies either way.

Hand positions on the Alto Saxophone

First you need to know how to position your hands and fingers on the Saxophone, so that you are able to play the different notes without having to “re-learn” this later. This is the foundation you need in order to play songs on your sax.

Tip: If you palm your hand as a “Lego hand” it will help especially with your left hand fingerings.

Left hand – around the top part of the sax

Position the left hand on your saxophone like this:

  1. Place your thumb on the “Thumb plate” on the backside of the sax 
  2. Palm your fingers around the body of the saxophone
  3. Place your index finger on the 2nd key from the top
  4. Place your middle finger on the 4th key from the top
  5. Place your ring finger on the 5th key from the top

Right hand – around the bottom part of the sax

Position the right hand on your saxophone like this:

  1. Place your thumb under the “Thumb grip” on the back of the sax
  2. Palm your fingers around the body so the rest on the keys
  3. Place your index finger on the 1st key from the top
  4. Place your middle finger on the 2th key from the top
  5. Place your ring finger on the 3th key from the top

Top  Left hand side keys on the saxophone

These 3 keys are also referred to as the “palm keys” on saxophone. They are only used when playing the highest notes on the sax. However, If you are having trouble playing any other note on your saxophone you should double check that you are not accidentally pushing one of these palm keys by mistake. It's a common issue that most beginner saxophone players run into before getting a hang on how to hold the saxophone correctly.No worries, You'll figure it out.

You use the palm keys to play the High D note, the High E flat note and the High F note on your saxophone.

Alto saxophone left hand side key fingerings

Bottom Right hand side keys on the saxophone

When you place your right hand around the lower part of your sax you'll have easy access to these three side keys on the sax. However, you need to make sure that you do not press them by accident as the do not work together with more that a few other fingerings. So, make sure that you keep your right hand palmed around the sax without pushing the side keys. You use these keys to play the B Flat note, The Alternate C fingering and the High E note on your saxophone.    
Alto Saxophone fingering right hand notes

Mid-range Notes on the saxophone

These notes are a great starting point for saxophone beginners. You only use a few fingers and can focus on producing the sound. In these examples you hear the notes being played on an Alto saxophone. However, the fingerings are exaclty the same on tenor sax, soprano sax and bari sax too. The sound will however be different as those horns have a different size and sound.

Low-range Notes on the Saxophone

These notes are a great starting point for saxophone beginners. You only use a few fingers and can focus on producing the sound. In these examples you hear the notes being played on an Alto saxophone. However, the fingerings are exaclty the same on tenor sax, soprano sax and bari sax too. The sound will however be different as those horns have a different size and sound.

High octave notes on the saxophone

These notes are a great starting point for saxophone beginners. You only use a few fingers and can focus on producing the sound. In these examples you hear the notes being played on an Alto saxophone. However, the fingerings are exaclty the same on tenor sax, soprano sax and bari sax too. The sound will however be different as those horns have a different size and sound.

How to hold the saxophone

You need to use a neckstrap in combination with your thumbs in order to balance and secure a good grip on your saxophone. Start by adjusting your neckstrap so that the saxophone mouthpiece line up with your mouth. You should not have to bend forward or have your head angled up (or down) in order to play notes on the sax.

If you are standing up your posture should be with a straight back and either align the saxophone infront of you or slightly to your right side in order to gain more support from your hip.

If you are sitting down you can either place the saxophone directly infront of you between your legs or over to your right side (recommended for children) in order to adjust and find the sweet spot to get the mouthpiece to line up.

Please note that you may have to adjust the angle of the mouthpiece in order to keep your head straight instead of tilting over to the left or the right. Take some time to make these adjustments as it will greatly impact your ability to use the saxophone fingering chart as well as producing the actual saxophone sound.

How to finger notes on saxophone

You place your left hand on the upper part of the saxophone body and your right hand on the lower part of the saxophone. Place both thumbs on the back of the saxophone, where you can see a thumb rest for the left as well as the right thumb.

As you palm your hands around the saxophone, you will find that there's a key for each of your remaining fingers. You place your index finger, middle finger, ring finger and pinky finger on both hands gently on the keys on the front of the sax without pushing them down. 

In order to play notes on the saxophone, you push down different combinations of fingers and keys which you learn more about in the step-by-step videos on saxophone fingerings on this page.

Ranging from the lowest note all the way up to the highest note on the horn.

These are some of the most important basics that you need to learn in order to start playing songs on the sax as well as being able to develop your saxophone sound. Building a good foundation for both fingering technique and understanding of how the saxophone works will make your saxophone journey way more fun as you progress and improve your playing.

Saxophone
Fingering Chart PDF

This saxophone fingering chart will get you started playing the saxophone in no time. You simply have to follow along in the videos. And you can see exactly how to finger each note on the sax. There is also a PDF download with the actual fingering chart, available for reference.

Feel free to download and use the fingering chart for reference when you practice the saxophone. At the same time you'll get added on our email list and we will send you more tips on how to become a better saxophone player over time. Enjoy!

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